Eddie is at the horseracing track with Noel on his thirty-ninth birthday. Eddie bets again after every time he wins, trying to double his money. He calls Marguerite to tell her he is winning, but she is angry and yells at him. They are planning to adopt a child soon, and she says he needs to start being responsible. Eddie tells her not to tell him what to do, and slams down the phone. Marguerite decides to come to the racetrack to apologize to Eddie for yelling and to convince him to come home. On the overpass above the road, two drunken teenage boys are making a game of throwing glass bottles onto the cars below. One of them hits Marguerite’s windshield, breaking it and sending her into a concrete divider. Her body is thrown and her liver lacerated. The two boys on the overpass scamper away.
Throughout the novel, life is full of unintended consequences. Eddie and other characters often cause harm unintentionally through small mistakes that spiral—in this case, Eddie’s refusal to stop gambling starts a series of events that leads to Marguerite’s accident. The argument between them is one of the only scenes in which a female character defends her position against a male character. Yet Marguerite is still depicted as the victim of male carelessness—both of Eddie’s reckless gambling, and of the violent games of the teenage boys.